Posted: November 27th, 2013
Should the Government Prohibit Drivers From Using Cell Phones and/or Text Messaging While Driving?
Since the advent of cell phones, they have become so popular across the world that at every corner people seem to be looking at them. They have found increased use such as social media and navigation purposes in driving. This has resulted in distracted driving, which means engaging in other activities while behind the wheel. Distracted driving is further separated into three groups that include manual, cognitive and visual. Visual involves looking away from the road while manual involves taking hands off the steering wheel. Cognitive happens when one’s mind is not focused directly on the road. Using cellular phones behind the steering wheel causes visual and cognitive and in some cases manual as well especially when text messaging.
Refutation of opposing argument
Most of the states have already started prohibiting drivers from using their cell phones and driving at the same time. Some states have only banned text messaging although the majority has banned other uses too. Opponents of the prohibition make the assertion that there are many things that can distract an individual while driving. Some of these distractions include using the navigation system on the dashboard, eating, putting on makeup and trying to attend to children amongst other things. The argument cites that banning one technology does not make sense if other distractions that can result in accidents are not prohibited as well. However, I refute this argument because cell phones take a lot of cognitive input to use compared to other distraction. Government should prohibit driving while using the cell phone and text messaging because of their distraction ability.
Reasons for refuting argument
The main reason for prohibiting drivers from using cell phones and driving at the same time is their level of distraction compared to other kinds of distractions. Statistical studies have indicated that driving while using the cell phone at the same time especially text messaging takes the cognition of the driver away from focusing on the road. Use of cellular cell phones requires one to look at its display while using hands at the same time to key in the text. While driving, text messaging would require one to look off the road in order to type a message on the phone. In addition, it would require one to use the hands especially for Smartphone, which means one has to release the steering wheel. All this aspects of using the cell phone combined take away a lot of cognitive capacity from the driver, which is almost equivalent to driving while blindfolded. Other distractions such as eating food do not require cognitive attention from the driver.
Another reason for prohibiting cell phone use is the increase of accidents resulting from distracted driving. According to statistical data on main causes of accidents, use of cell phones was among the first. Studies have indicated that drivers who drive and use their cell phones are at four times more likely to cause fatal accidents. As aforementioned, it is clear that cell phones have a higher ability to distract a driver from focusing on the road compared to other distractions such as eating. From investigations conducted after accidents, many of the drivers are found to have been using their cell phones just before the occurrence of crashes. In addition, these drivers put the lives of other motorist at a high risk considering they might be involved in such accidents caused by distracted drivers. A motorist does not only endanger their lives while distracted, but also the lives of those on the road with whom they are likely to crash.
Another reason is that cell phones are just convenience gadgets and not necessities. This means that people do not have to use them while driving. Young people make up most of the drivers who use their cell phones and drive at the same time. In most cases, the information sent is not particularly noteworthy. Some are just updates that can be checked later when one is not driving. Although some people might argue that it could offer pertinent information, such messages or calls would not make any impact if one dies in a crash. It only makes sense to wait or pull off the road to send messages than do it while one is driving, which puts one’s life at risk. In addition, some applications that allow one to receive and send text messages without having to tough the cell phones are available, which can help drivers stay focused on driving.
It is clear that reasons for prohibiting driving and using the cell phone are aimed at ensuring safety of all road users. Although some people might find it unfair to pass such laws while other distractions still exist, this policy would protect the majority. This is especially true because drivers using their cell phones are four times likely to cause fatal accidents than those who do not. In addition, statistical evidence indicates that distracted driving is among the major causes of deaths on road accidents. Therefore, the government should prohibit all motorists from driving and using their cell phones. However, the government should also focus on pedestrians who cross the road while using their hand-held gadgets.
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